Dave Stephens, Swordsmith
I made this stuff.
Jachelt is a word the Scottish have for a tree that has been shaped by the wind. In my hometown of Cordova, Alaska we had many such trees. I’ve always loved them. I am fascinated by the way in which something as insubstantial as air moving past and around an object can shape and mold objects and entities.
In some ways, the concept of a Jachelt reminds me of the process of swordsmithing. As I grow in this craft, I find myself moving further away from power tools. While at the rough, formation stages of a project there are still hydraulic presses, and belt grinders, what tends to take up the majority of my time on a project now is the slow, the methodical: the pass of a file, the scraping of a chisel, the endless sanding. The challenge of this is patience. Rushing through finish work is a sure way to ruin or flaw a project that has taken months of your time. I find the metaphor of the wind slowly sculpting an object is a good mental picture to help cultivate patience.
This is the most challenging individual project I’ve done to date. While it is not perfect, it’s the closest thing to perfection I’ve made so far. The picture in my head when I started this project is not too far off from the finished blade lying on the table next to me as I type this.